UK’s Johnson hails Trump offer of quick trade deal

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British foreign minister Boris Johnson / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND

British foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that US President-elect Donald Trump’s offer of a quick trade deal with Britain as it leaves the European Union was positive news.

“I think it’s very good news that the United States of America wants to do a good free trade deal with us and wants to do it very fast,” Johnson said ahead of meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

“It’s great to hear that from President-elect Donald Trump. Clearly it will have to be a deal that’s very much in the interest of both sides but I have no doubt that it will be.”

Trump said in an interview with The Times newspaper that Britain leaving the EU would “end up as a great thing” and promised to work for a trade deal with post-Brexit Britain “quickly and done properly”.

Outgoing US President Barack Obama had warned before Britain’s shock June 23 referendum vote to leave the bloc that it would be at the “back of the queue” for any new trade deal.

Trump’s comments did little to reassure investors, however, following British media reports at the weekend that Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to announce a hard line on Brexit in a major speech on Tuesday.

Sterling plunged on Monday morning to $1.1986, its lowest level since October’s “flash crash” that had sent it to a 31-year low of $1.1841.

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